AoPS Academy Team

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Our Team

Our Founders

Richard Rusczyk

Art of Problem Solving was founded by Richard Rusczyk in 2003 to create interactive educational opportunities for avid math students. Richard is the author or a co-author of 7 AoPS textbooks and a past Director of the USA Mathematical Talent Search. He was a participant in National MATHCOUNTS, a three-time participant in the Math Olympiad Summer Program, and a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner (1989). He received the World Federation of National Mathematics Competitions Paul Erdös Award in 2014. He graduated from Princeton University in 1993, and worked as a bond trader for D.E. Shaw & Company for four years. AoPS marks Richard's return to his vocation - educating motivated students.

Glen Dawson

In 2014, Glen founded a learning center in Morrisville, North Carolina, that two years later became the first AoPS Academy campus. Glen served as the National Director of AoPS Academy until his retirement in 2019. He has experience as a college math professor, statistician, and expert SAS programmer. He has been a professional math tutor for many years, and specializes in training academically-advanced and high-performing math students. Glen is a graduate of Duke University and holds a graduate degree in statistics from Boston University.

David Patrick

Dave joined AoPS in 2004. He is the author or a co-author of 4 AoPS textbooks. Dave earned the sole perfect score on the American High School Mathematics Examination (AHSME) in 1988 and was a USA Mathematical Olympiad winner that year. He attended the Research Science Institute (RSI) in 1987, and the Math Olympiad Summer Program in 1988, where he first met fellow student Richard Rusczyk. He also finished in the top 10 on the Putnam exam in 1991. Dave graduated from Carnegie Mellon in 1992 with a BS in Mathematics/Computer Science and an MS in Mathematics. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT in 1997. He was an acting Assistant Professor at the University of Washington from 1997 to 2001. Dave is originally from Western New York and is an alumnus of the SUNY Buffalo Gifted Math Program.

Management Staff

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Anatole Ginsberg - Campus Director

Anatole Ginsberg - Campus Director

Anatole is the Campus Director for AoPS Academy Gaithersburg. Having earned an IB Diploma in high school, he went on to pursue a dual BA from Vassar College in mathematics and Chinese. He has been passionate about the exploration of math since he was 13, when he accidentally derived the quadratic formula and realized math was more about logic than numbers. His varied interests have led him to jobs in investor relations, veterinary medicine, daycare, and comedy, but the siren call of math education has always brought him back. Anatole has taught diverse math students in Beijing, New York, and San Diego. He speaks French, Mandarin, and Spanish, and doodles Fibonacci spirals to relax.

Dr. Tedra Osell - Associate Director

Dr. Tedra Osell - Associate Director

Tedra is an Associate Director at AoPS Academy Gaithersburg. She has been teaching students of all ages for 20 years. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Washington, an MA from the University of Nebraska, and a BA from Washington University in St. Louis. She’s been a college professor, writer, editor, and full-time mom and has published on topics including eighteenth-century periodicals, twenty-first-century parenting, gifted education, and learning disabilities. Tedra first became acquainted with the Art of Problem Solving as a parent, when her then-middle-school son took an AoPS Online Algebra course. In her free time, she likes hiking, cooking, knitting, and silly cat videos.

Ian Parks - Associate Director

Ian Parks - Associate Director

Math instructor Ian Parks has been excited about math ever since he can remember. He graduated from the Stevens Institute of Technology in 2009 with a BS in information systems and set out to work in the IT field. But Ian quickly grew disillusioned with the dog-eat-dog corporate sphere and began teaching high school math instead. When he isn’t teaching, Ian loves reading science fiction and fantasy, anime, and gaming. He and his wife have a dog named Einstein, a cat named Chester, and a snake named Ninja.

Instructors

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Dr. Hussein Awala

Dr. Hussein Awala

Hussein obtained a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the Lebanese University in 2010. After that he started his academic career at the American University of Beirut (AUB), where he was a graduate assistant at the University's tutoring center and ran problem-solving sessions. In 2012, Hussein graduated from AUB with a Master's degree in mathematics and moved on to start his Ph.D. program at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. During his time at Temple University, Hussein honed his teaching skills through teaching multiple classes and gaining a Teaching in Higher Education Certificate from the Center for the Advancement of Teaching. In 2017, Hussein obtained his Ph.D. in Mathematics and started his Postdoctoral Fellow position at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, where he worked for one year. Currently, Hussein works as an Actuarial Analyst at GEICO.

Jonathon Baker

Jonathon Baker

Jonathon has spent ten years working in various locations teaching mathematics to many diverse students. He has spent most of this time working for the Community College of Baltimore County as an adjunct Professor of Mathematics and Baltimore County Public Schools as a math teacher. He currently holds a Bachelor's degree from Goucher College in mathematics and is working toward his Master's degree. He thoroughly enjoys the field of teaching and working with the kids at AoPS Academy Gaithersburg.

Charles Banks

Charles Banks

Charles teaches language arts at AoPS Academy Gaithersburg. He holds a BA in English education and an MA in English from the State University College of New York at Fredonia. Charles has taught in Maryland and New York for more than twenty years. Outside the classroom, he loves reading, listening to music, watching and playing almost any sport, and spending time with his family.

Elizabeth Blake

Elizabeth Blake

One day in fourth grade, Elizabeth “Liz” Blake’s teacher was called out of the room. Before she left the room, she came over to Liz, handed her the piece of chalk she had been using, and said, “Lizzie, could you finish this math problem for us?” And that day, she discovered that she wanted to be a math teacher. In high school, she discovered that algebra was the greatest subject ever. Years later, after enjoying a career as a music teacher and professional musician, she earned her math degree and became a math teacher, later teaching college as an assistant professor of mathematics. Liz’s inspiration and motivation is fueled by the students’ journey. She strives to meet their academic needs and to reward courage with encouragement. When outside the classroom, Liz enjoys crocheting afghans and spending time with her new husband, two stepsons, and four cats.

Ayra Coles

Ayra Coles

Ayra's passion for teaching began with a love of literature during her high school English course. She then actualized this passion by obtaining a BA in English from Salisbury University. Ayra has a career as a local teacher within Montgomery County Public Schools. Within that she continues to affirm and encourage her students to be their best at all times. In her free time, she likes to read and exercise.

Chauncey Dennie

Chauncey Dennie

Chauncey is a native Washingtonian with deep and professional ties to the DC region. After receiving his BA from Morehouse College in English and German, Chauncey returned to the DMV area to attend Georgetown University. While earning his master’s degree at Georgetown, Chauncey developed a slew of professional skills as a teaching assistant as well as being a full-time adjunct English professor. For the last six years, Chauncey has been an educator for an academically rigorous DC charter school. His teaching load included logic, Honors English Language, AP English Language, and African American Studies. Currently, Chauncey is pursuing his PhD in English as well as teaching for The University of Maryland at College Park.

Jasper Diggs

Jasper Diggs

Jasper joined AoPS Academy in 2017. Both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees deal with reading specialization in the elementary grades. She has been an educator for the past 15 years: 13 years with Montgomery County Public Schools and 2 years with Okaloosa County in Destin, FL. In 2015, Jasper worked as a reading interventionist for Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR). Since then, she has continued to pursue opportunities that allow her to practice her specialization in reading diagnostics. She currently serves as a reading specialist in the public school system. In her spare time, Jasper loves to read anything suspenseful or quirky, and she shares this love with her monthly book club. She looks forward to instilling a love of reading in her AoPS Academy students!

Dr. Jean Freedman

Dr. Jean Freedman

Jean has a BA in theater from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MA and PhD in folklore from Indiana University. She has more than 20 years of teaching experience and is an adjunct professor at both The George Washington University and Montgomery College. She is also a writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Journal of American Folklore, and other publications. Her latest book, Peggy Seeger: A Life of Music, Love, and Politics, is a biography of the acclaimed American-British folk musician.

Dr. Jason Glaw

Dr. Jason Glaw

Jason’s love of math has many influences, with the earliest being the Count on Sesame Street. He’s had the good fortune of teaching children and adults over many years in a variety of disciplines, including math, science, weightlifting, and even poker! He has a PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia and a BS in biomedical engineering from Duke University. Currently, he works in the biopharma industry. Outside the office and classroom, Jason plays soccer, tennis, board games, and video games. He also makes and eats all the desserts he can find and goes on adventures with his wife and son.

Eliza Kaye Handley

Eliza Kaye Handley

Eliza graduated with a BA in English at Brigham Young University with two minors in psychology and humanities. She then moved to DC and got an M.Ed in secondary education at The George Washington University where she received her teaching license in English. She has 2 years of teaching experience and has taught Russian, AP Language, Honors English 10, English 9, English 10, and English for English Language Learners. Eliza’s favorite part of teaching is getting to know students’ individual needs and figuring out what works for them. Eliza grew up in Utah for most of her life, but has also lived in DC, California, Arizona, Russia, and England. She loves to travel and lived in Russia for 18 months back in 2013-2014 and helped teach English and found other ways to serve the people of Eastern Russia. Recently, she and her husband traveled for two months in Russia, China, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Eliza loves to bike everywhere, hang out with her dog, and cook for all of her friends. She is currently writing a memoir that focuses on her favorite subject: food!

Emma Harries

Emma Harries

Emma grew up in the UK and earned a bachelor's degree in Russian and history from the University of Nottingham. A year in St. Petersburg gave her the travel bug and she has since taught academic English in Taiwan, Vietnam and Australia. In 2010, Emma completed a master;s degree in linguistics at Macquarie University, Sydney. Since then, Emma has held management roles within language centers and helped train many new teachers. She has worked as an English Instructor at George Mason University here in Virginia since 2015. Emma loves nature walks with her husband and daughter, listening to podcasts, and stand-up comedy.

Dr. Alessandra King

Dr. Alessandra King

Alessandra is an astrophysicist by training, with a PhD in physics from the University of Milan. She has over 15 years of experience teaching mathematics at several local schools. She was Director of the Mathematics department at Green Hedges School in Vienna, VA for over 7 years, and currently teaches middle and high school level mathematics at Holton-Arms School in Bethesda.

Dr. John Klinger

Dr. John Klinger

Dr. Klinger learned to love good math teaching as a student at Brooklyn Technical High School, where he got to be in classes with Mr. Glaubiger, Dr. Rich, and Mr. Klein. Dr. Klinger later earned a PhD in physics at Cornell, worked at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab for a few years, and spent the rest of his career developing aircraft software. Now retired from full-time work, Dr. Klinger still enjoys using the math that he learned in high school. After finding out about the math curriculum offered at AoPS Academy Gaithersburg, he leapt at the opportunity to be a part of this program.

Matthew Lee

Matthew Lee

Matthew Lee is a Maryland native who has taught throughout the DMV region. He holds a BA in English from Hood College and an MS in professional writing from Towson University. Matthew has worked with everyone from kindergarteners to retirees, but he especially enjoys instilling a passion for reading and writing in young people. Besides composition and creative writing, Matthew has taught drama for many years. He is a company member with Maryland Ensemble Theatre and the artistic director of their MET-X programming. He also serves as co-editor of Baltimore-based Ligeia Magazine.

Katherine Lin

Katherine Lin

Math instructor Katherine got her start sharing her love of STEM with students more than a decade ago, as a volunteer mentor with DC Public Schools. Quickly recognizing the need for more teachers who could help students love math and science, she went on to earn a Masters of Secondary Education at Johns Hopkins University. Katherine has taught astronomy, chemistry, and physics, as well as test prep for math, science, reading, and writing on national and local exams. In her free time, she often finds herself wondering just how many Oreos, Sour Patch Kids, and Airheads she has shared with her students on assessment days.

Hui Su Loo

Hui Su Loo

Su has loved math ever since she was little and first experienced the joy of solving a problem. She holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and a master’s in math education from Western Governors University in Utah. Su has spent the last few years teaching middle and high school math in both public and private schools in Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Montgomery County, Maryland. She especially likes discussing problem-solving strategies with her students. In her spare time, Su loves painting, trying out new recipes, and taking long walks in the park.

Ella Mihailescu, PhD

Ella Mihailescu, PhD

Math instructor Ella believes that success begins with a firm foundation in math and logical thinking. She is a biophysics researcher at the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology research in Rockville. Ella uses experimental methods to observe the structure of biological molecules, research that may one day help drug developers design better treatments. She holds an MSc in physics from the University of Bucharest in Romania and a PhD in physical chemistry from Munster University in Germany. Away from the lab, Ella also teaches college students how to use laboratory techniques.

Songying Mo

Songying Mo

Songying loves math and science! He earned Bachelor’s degrees in math and chemistry from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where he sometimes delivered the lectures in calculus classes. Songying works in the biopharmaceutical industry and dreams of earning a Master’s degree in biostatistics. Away from work, he enjoys rock climbing and spending time with his pets.

Yvonne O’Neill

Yvonne O’Neill

Yvonne O’Neill currently teaches first and second grades and directs the After-Care Program at Gaithersburg's The Avalon School. A graduate of Washington College, Yvonne also holds an MS in public relations from The American University. She has served as a substitute teacher and first-grade teacher assistant at Bethesda's St. Jane de Chantal School. Yvonne began her formal teaching career at Bradley Hills Pre-school and also taught at the Holton Arms Creative Summer Program. She and her husband Tom live in Bethesda with a selection of their sons. In her free time, Yvonne puts her heart and energy into her growing family.

Phil Rennert

Phil Rennert

Phil is a semi-retired research engineer in information science, in the overall business of extracting wisdom from information overload. He specializes in machine learning, natural language processing, data mining, and statistics. Earlier Phil worked for NASA, doing Space Shuttle guidance and control and satellite orbit determination. Phil's teaching experience includes remedial math instruction for college freshmen and volunteering for Mathcounts. Phil is an alumnus of MIT's high school studies program, and has a BA in math from Yale and an MA in applied math from NYU.

Carrie Sanidad

Carrie Sanidad

Carrie Sanidad earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and secondary math education from the University of Maryland where she was in the University Honors Program and also played volleyball for their varsity team. She started her teaching career as a high school math and computer science teacher in the Montgomery County Public School System. After taking time off to raise her family of four children, Mrs. Carrie returned to the classroom teaching Montessori middle school math and science. Although she likes all math and science disciplines, her favorite is Geometry. She has served as a middle school and high school head volleyball coach and an assistant swim coach for all ages. In her spare time, she likes to exercise, sew, and read.

Michael Seablom

Michael Seablom

Math instructor Mike Seablom’s passion for math comes from studying the weather. He has spent the past thirty years deriving numerical algorithms to improve data assimilation for weather prediction and climate forecasting, both for the government and in the private sector. Mike has also derived methods to manipulate and display Earth science data. He holds a BS in meteorology from Florida State University, an MBA in management technology from Georgia Tech, and an MS in atmospheric sciences from Purdue University (where he led the department’s tornado chase team).

Nemahun Songu-Mbriwa

Nemahun Songu-Mbriwa

Nemahun (Ne-ma-hoon) has been a special educator in the greater Washington area since 2002. She has taught all grades 1-8 and various subject areas. Nemahun earned her master's degree from Johns Hopkins University and her bachelor's degree in early childhood education/special education from Bowie State University. She loves teaching, especially when it comes to helping students relate to concepts that are typically difficult to understand. In her free time, Nemahun enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, traveling, and shopping!

Ben Stone

Ben Stone

Ben Stone is an experienced high school math teacher who has assisted in many of Art of Problem Solving Online classes, from Prealgebra to Calculus. He also has extensive experience teaching math competition classes. As a high-school student, Ben was a three-time AIME participant and placed second in the Oregon Invitational Math Tournament for high school students. Ben holds a BS in mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University and an MS in mathematics from the University of Washington. Ben also develops elementary-school math content for Art of Problem Solving's Beast Academy Online.

Emmy Watkins

Emmy Watkins

Emmy’s early love of reading (she used to get in trouble for reading in class) led her to earn her B.A. in English at Colgate University, where she graduated with high honors. Her background in tutoring, substitute teaching, and early childhood education, as well as her love of grammar, make her a versatile and enthusiastic language arts teacher. After living in Florida, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Colorado, she has settled down to pursue a master’s degree in moral theology at Catholic University of America. When she isn’t studying or teaching at AoPS Academy, you can find her rereading her favorite books, knitting hats for her nephew, or baking something sweet.

Vicki Wu

Vicki Wu

Vicki started teaching math at AoPS Academy Gaithersburg in 2018. She holds a BS in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an MS in chemistry from Bradley University, and works for the Department of Commerce as a Patent Examiner, where she assesses the technical validity of engineering patents. Vicki and her husband live in Gaithersburg, where she enjoys teaching the basics of math, coding, violin, piano, and Mandarin to their two children. Vicki loves showing her students that math is fun!

Joyce Yang

Joyce Yang

Joyce earned her BS in mathematics from Harvey Mudd College, after participating in several high school math competitions, including the American Regions Mathematics League (ARML) and American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). She is passionate about math education, having graded for Art of Problem Solving Online courses since 2011, and also has experience in math and statistics research.

Dr. James Zhu

Dr. James Zhu

Dr. Zhu graduated from Fudan University with a BS in mathematics in January 1982 at age 19 and graduated from Cornell University with a Ph.D in operations research (Applied Probability and Statistics concentration) in 1989. He was a faculty member at the Fudan Math Department from 1982-1985 and a faculty member at George Washington University and the State University of New York at Buffalo for 5 years where he supervised MS and Ph.D students before joining the telecom industry in 1994. Dr. Zhu has always had a passion for teaching. More recently, he taught part-time at the University of Texas at Dallas and tutored middle school, high school, college and graduate school students. After retiring from a successful telecom career, he has been full time focusing on tutoring AP Calculus, AP Statistics, SAT and Mathematics competition (Mathcount, AMC8 etc) for middle school students. In his spare time, he likes playing cards and fishing.

"AoPS Academy is truly a wonderful place to learn advanced concepts in math. The academy has highly qualified instructors who not only help kids learn rigorous math concepts in great depth, but also inspire them to achieve the lofty heights that they are capable of. The instructors are truly an inspiration for my children due to their thoughtful mentoring. Thank you for everything you do for our kids."
-Praveen T.
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